Documentary & Biography TV Shows

About Documentary & Biography

The purpose of a TV documentary, as is probably obvious from the genre's name, is to document something. Documentaries are non-fiction programs that examine a subject closely, and the intent of the program may be broadly educational, or it may attempt to make a cultural or political point. Although the earliest TV programming was focused on entertainment, documentaries quickly became a significant part of TV programming overall, and now some of the most popular TV networks concentrate almost exclusively on non-fiction programs.

Documentary TV programming comes in a number of forms. Stand-alone documentary films explore one subject in depth in a single film or in a short series of episodes, while documentary series often look at a different subject in each episode, with no direct connection between the subjects from episode to episode. News-magazine-style shows may group multiple segments within each episode; the segments typically focus on unrelated subjects. Other types of documentary series-crime and paranormal series are currently popular-explore a different specific subject in each episode, but all of the subjects conform to the overall theme of the series.

Biography is a sub-genre of documentary programming that tells the story of a particular individual. Historical figures, political leaders, entertainers, sports figures and other celebrities are, of course, the most popular subjects of TV biographies, and biographical documentaries are consistently popular with TV viewers. In recent years, the series "Biography" was one of the most successful productions on the A&E cable network-so much so that the network spun the series off into its own channel, The Biography Channel, which debuted in 1999.

Much of the programming that fits into the reality TV genre could also fit fairly comfortably into the documentary genre. Reality series that follow characters as they engage in specific occupations or live in unusual contexts educate viewers about those occupations and lifestyles at the same time that they entertain-although the main goal of these series is entertainment, and factual accuracy may suffer as a consequence.

About This Genre
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Intervention
Intervention
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
Hard Knocks
Hard Knocks
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Ghosts of Shepherdstown
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Shark Week
Shark Week
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
American Experience
American Experience
Last Chance U
Last Chance U
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Poldark Revealed
Poldark Revealed
American Masters
American Masters
Empires
Empires
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
The Story of Diana
The Story of Diana
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
30 For 30
Stalked: Someone's Watching
Surviving Evil
Beyond
Dateline
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
The Skinny Dip
A Season With
Snapped
Vietnam in HD
Scorned: Love Kills
The Hunt with John Walsh
Taboo
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Destination Truth
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Most Evil
Close Encounters
Mayday
Secrets of the Dead
America The Story of Us
The FBI Files
Nature
Pure History
Xploration Earth 2050
Yummy Mummy
Paranormal State
American Ripper
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
A Football Life
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Scandal Made Me Famous
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
River Monsters
Hate Thy Neighbor
How It's Made
My 600-lb Life
Survivorman
Deadly Sins
Vice
The First World War
Alien Encounters
Ancient Civilizations
The Bureau
Planet Dinosaur
Ocean Mysteries
Genealogy Roadshow
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine
The Planets
Secrets of the Universe
Trapped
Xploration Awesome Planet
Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
Anatomy for Beginners
The Final 24
Dirty Jobs
Life Below Zero
I Survived
Planet Earth
Beyond Scared Straight
Surviving Disaster
Lockup
Naked and Afraid: Uncensored
1000 Ways to Die
The Civil War: A Film By Ken Burns
Killing Fields
Lost Tapes
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Cold Case Files
Austin City Limits
Unusual Suspects
Bering Sea Gold
Unwrapped
20/20
Love Kills
Dr. G: Medical Examiner
Modern Marvels
48 Hours Mystery